Being a parent is not the easiest job out there – and it can become infinitely more complex as children turn into teenagers. There are few relationships more complicated than the one that parents and teens share.

It’s vital that parents set boundaries, help form healthy habits and relationships, and most importantly: protect their children during this time. However, there are certain mistakes that should also be avoided during this time.

Taking it Personally

There are days when your teenagers may make you feel unloved, either by their words or their lack of attention. It’s important to remember not to take these moments personally. Parents are commonly the target of a teenage range because they are safe. On a subconscious level, teens know that their parents will still be there for them at the end of the day. To maintain that perspective – don’t take what happens personally. Doing so can lead parents (and thus, teenagers) down a destructive path.

Failing to Find a Balance

Some parents come off as being more friends than parents, while others are always strict and never let that potential friendship flourish. Either extreme can turn out to be unhealthy for teenagers.

Instead, a balance must be struck. Parents are not friends, but they shouldn’t be seen as a constant source of criticism and negativity either. Be supportive – but also create rules and stick to them. The important thing here is consistency. 

Invalidating Feelings

When a teenager chooses to open up to their parents, parents must respond appropriately. That is to say; they should not invalidate how their teenager feels. Don’t contradict their fears or feelings. Likewise, it may be helpful not to offer up advice unless it is specifically asked for.

Most importantly, don’t lecture or scold a teenager during this open moment. This is a crucial moment for teenagers and the relationship as a whole. They’re taking a risk by opening up to their parents; it is essential that they not be punished for doing so.

Talking Instead of Listening

The best way to understand anyone is to take the time to listen. Naturally, this lesson applies to teenagers as well. Parents who struggle to understand their teenagers should be taking the time to listen to what their kids are saying.

All too frequently, a parent will talk too much when handling their children. This can be something simple, such as providing a solution to the problem instead of letting the teen find it on their own. Sometimes people talk because they want to be heard, not because they want solutions thrown at them, fathers, in particular, can often feel that not giving solutions is hard.